Archive for the ‘preservation’ Category

Will we lose another Frank Lloyd Wright house?

09/18/2008


When I was a kid, following the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and John Kennedy, and in the tumult that followed, I felt unsettled.

I used to walk up to the Ravine Bluffs development designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, to see the houses there. They seemed so comfortable where they stood. They seemed a part of the land, a natural outcropping of the place.

I used to just stand there and look at them and find peace.

Now, one of Wright’s Ravine Bluffs houses is in danger.

Current Condition and/or Status: The house has been vacant for two years and has fallen into disrepair. Last winter, the heating pipes burst which has caused further damage.

Potential Threat: The property is for sale and is being marketed for the house “as is” or the land, which is less than a quarter-acre site. If torn down, it would be the first intact Wright house to be demolished in the United States in over 30 years.

What You Can Do: Click here.

Someone would tear this beauty down?

We’ve got to find a way to save it.

Frank Lloyd Wright is perhaps the greatest artist America has ever produced, in any medium. Up there with Louis Armstrong and Walt Whitman and Martha Graham.

A creator of beautiful worlds.

Find a way to save it. Well-being depends on it.

Advertisements

Mies’ IBM slated for Chicago city landmark status

01/29/2008

It doesn’t look quite the same, and you can’t see it as well as you used to, but at least it’ll be a landmark!

We’ve blocked the best view, and desecrated the lobby,

but at least now the Chicago City Council’s Landmarks Committee has approved landmark designation for the 52-story tower at 330 N. Wabash that is the last and tallest American office building designed by Mies and his firm.

Until recently, this was its command over the city.

The other good news is that you’ll be able to spend a night in it.
Floors 2 through 14 will be a 335 room luxury hotel.

Today’s article says,

Completed in 1972, the IBM building is now 30 percent vacant and in desperate need of a face-lift. It’s located across the street from Trump Tower, a 92-story tower that has blocked the IBM building’s once-unobstructed views of Lake Michigan (and the Chicago River).
.

04/20/2007

860 – 880 Lake Shore Drive by Mies van der Rohe –
7+ million dollar restoration project

Just wanted to update you, and tell you where we stand.

Per the trustees, the following architects responded to our
Request For Proposal
:

Booth Hansen, Epstein, Gunny Harboe, Holabird & Root,
Krueck & Sexton, and Vinci/Hamp.

Gensler, and Fujikawa Johnson Gobel rejected our proposal.

After we choose an architect, the roof and exterior painting projects could start as soon as in August. The work on the travertine plaza

and lobby window wall would start next spring.

I wrote more about it here and here.

Stay tuned,
-Edward

02/24/2007

We will restore Mies’ 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments!

The finest, most poetic, most philosophical and aesthetically thrilling high-rise in the land.


I told you about the restoration plans here.

Now the board of trustees has passed the 7+ million dollar capital improvement plan. Thanks to Marc Boxerman, a trustee, and Don Hunt, a trustee, for their good work, and the others too.

Next we must choose the right restoration architect(s). Krueck and Sexton (scroll down) / Gunny Harboe? John Vinci?

And I’m a little sad that they’ll probably have to rip up the travertine in the lobbies. To get at leaky pipes underneath. That’s the original travertine and it feels it. Replacement is never the same. Stone, with its graining and the way it wears, gives off an energy doesn’t it? It tells a tale (and travertine knows stories all the way back to ancient Rome.) Our lobby feels more authentic than does, for example, the reconstruction of Mies’ Barcelona Pavilion.

But the travertine on the south porch of Crown Hall was redone and it feels and looks good, the Farnsworth House has been heavily restored after floods, and it feels and looks good; so it can be done, if the right person is doing it, with care. That here is our next charge.

And I’m excited to move forward with this.
-Edward

02/24/2007

We will restore Mies’ 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments!

The finest, most poetic, most philosophical and aesthetically thrilling high-rise in the land.


I told you about the restoration plans here.

Now the board of trustees has passed the 7+ million dollar capital improvement plan. Thanks to Marc Boxerman, a trustee, and Don Hunt, a trustee, for their good work, and the others too.

Next we must choose the right restoration architect(s). Krueck and Sexton (scroll down) / Gunny Harboe? John Vinci?

And I’m a little sad that they’ll probably have to rip up the travertine in the lobbies. To get at leaky pipes underneath. That’s the original travertine and it feels it. Replacement is never the same. Stone, with its graining and the way it wears, gives off an energy doesn’t it? It tells a tale (and travertine knows stories all the way back to ancient Rome.) Our lobby feels more authentic than does, for example, the reconstruction of Mies’ Barcelona Pavilion.

But the travertine on the south porch of Crown Hall was redone and it feels and looks good, the Farnsworth House has been heavily restored after floods, and it feels and looks good; so it can be done, if the right person is doing it, with care. That here is our next charge.

And I’m excited to move forward with this.
-Edward

02/10/2007

ShawPshaw

Remember, I’m on a sabbatical. Which is why I’m not writing here. But eventually (stay tuned!) I’ll post on Ragdale, where I am, and Howard Van Doren Shaw, in whose bedroom I sleep; and on the great August Wilson play I just saw at the new Goodman Theater, called “Radio Golf

– partly about preserving a rundown house they refer to as “Raggedy-ass.”

The paneling downstairs in the sitting room here at Ragdale, looks a lot like

the paneling in the original Goodman,

to which my father and mother took me as a child, and in which I learned to love theater. It was designed by the man in whose summer bedroom I sleep, Howard Van Doren Shaw.

That old Goodman is torn down, (shame on them!) they should have saved it, and I always wonder what happened to that paneling.

The new Goodman, in a chintzy-looking new building, presents “Radio Golf .” In it, an old house must be saved, for it preserves a lot of memories. “Radio Golf” is for me a primo plea for preservation and why it’s important. The play is perhaps the most affecting preservation plea I’ve ever heard, (from outside of my self. How awful that the room in which my Father wanted me to learn theater has been torn down, no?)

Really, “Radio Golf” is about being authentic people. But most of us are not. And maybe that’s why we not only don’t live in authentic buildings, we tear down many that our ancestors have given us.

What’s here and what isn’t.

I interviewed August Wilson more than once. He was prickly, could be racist, provocative or ridiculous (“Black people started carrying guns only after Bernie Goetz opened fire on blacks on the New York City subway,” he told me. And he would not back off from this when I pressed him. He seemed to get angry when questioned about his beliefs.)

Sadly, August Wilson is no longer here, he has come and gone as they say. He died too young in October 2005, before he could finish polishing “Radio Golf,” but still able to say he completed his monumental achievement of one play about the African-American experience for each decade of the twentieth century.

The best interview I ever lost was in 1995. I spent an afternoon with August Wilson, in the old Goodman Theater, as he observed rehearsals of Seven Guitars. He was still re-writing it, as he did ’til the end with his plays. My mini-disc machine failed and the beautiful, stimulating conversation I had with August Wilson was lost forever.

If you love rich language, meaningful dialogue, viewing prickly issues through many lenses, personal transformations, fine acting, a great set, costumes and lighting; if you’re interested in history, or affected by the difficult struggle to preserve it in a nation that prefers not to remember but to focus on the future, then you must see the superlative acheivement of August Wilson. Read up on his ten-play cycle. And don’t miss “Radio Golf.”

Because it’s here now.

-Edward

02/10/2007

ShawPshaw

Remember, I’m on a sabbatical. Which is why I’m not writing here. But eventually (stay tuned!) I’ll post on Ragdale, where I am, and Howard Van Doren Shaw, in whose bedroom I sleep; and on the great August Wilson play I just saw at the new Goodman Theater, called “Radio Golf

– partly about preserving a rundown house they refer to as “Raggedy-ass.”

The paneling downstairs in the sitting room here at Ragdale, looks a lot like

the paneling in the original Goodman,

to which my father and mother took me as a child, and in which I learned to love theater. It was designed by the man in whose summer bedroom I sleep, Howard Van Doren Shaw.

That old Goodman is torn down, (shame on them!) they should have saved it, and I always wonder what happened to that paneling.

The new Goodman, in a chintzy-looking new building, presents “Radio Golf .” In it, an old house must be saved, for it preserves a lot of memories. “Radio Golf” is for me a primo plea for preservation and why it’s important. The play is perhaps the most affecting preservation plea I’ve ever heard, (from outside of my self. How awful that the room in which my Father wanted me to learn theater has been torn down, no?)

Really, “Radio Golf” is about being authentic people. But most of us are not. And maybe that’s why we not only don’t live in authentic buildings, we tear down many that our ancestors have given us.

What’s here and what isn’t.

I interviewed August Wilson more than once. He was prickly, could be racist, provocative or ridiculous (“Black people started carrying guns only after Bernie Goetz opened fire on blacks on the New York City subway,” he told me. And he would not back off from this when I pressed him. He seemed to get angry when questioned about his beliefs.)

Sadly, August Wilson is no longer here, he has come and gone as they say. He died too young in October 2005, before he could finish polishing “Radio Golf,” but still able to say he completed his monumental achievement of one play about the African-American experience for each decade of the twentieth century.

The best interview I ever lost was in 1995. I spent an afternoon with August Wilson, in the old Goodman Theater, as he observed rehearsals of Seven Guitars. He was still re-writing it, as he did ’til the end with his plays. My mini-disc machine failed and the beautiful, stimulating conversation I had with August Wilson was lost forever.

If you love rich language, meaningful dialogue, viewing prickly issues through many lenses, personal transformations, fine acting, a great set, costumes and lighting; if you’re interested in history, or affected by the difficult struggle to preserve it in a nation that prefers not to remember but to focus on the future, then you must see the superlative acheivement of August Wilson. Read up on his ten-play cycle. And don’t miss “Radio Golf.”

Because it’s here now.

-Edward

K.A.M. Pilgrim Baptist by Louis Sullivan to be reborn – as what?

01/15/2007

Most of the church nee synagogue burned to the ground, due to negligence during maintenance, a little over a year ago.
Today Deacon Robert Vaughn named Johnson & Lee, Ltd. as the architect for the rebuilding.

Architect Christopher Lee announced that ,

preliminary reconstruction plans range “from replication to doing something unexpected, but really nice.”

Well, I’m glad it’ll be “really nice.” Sorry to be cynical, and maybe the story will turn out well, we must make sure it does.

Visit Johnson & Lee, Ltd.’s website to see what they’ve designed to date.

They’ll work with the highly-respected Quinn Evans Architects, of Ann Arbor, Michigan and Washington D.C. That firm has worked on the restoration of two buildings with important historical connections to African Americans, one in Detroit and the other in Topeka, Kan.

Today architect Christopher Lee promised to respect the work of Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler. What does that mean specifically?

We did not respect Adler and Sullivan and their gifts – or ourselves – when we didn’t protect Pilgrim Baptist and it burnt to the ground. Let’s respect ourselves now by rebuilding at 33rd and Indiana, Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler’s moving design, completed in 1891. We’ve got to raise public and private money for that. Walking through K.A.M. Pilgrim Baptist and hearing gospel music sung there tells us who we are and who we were and who we can be.

Involve John Vinci in the restoration. He knows the place inside and out, has detailed photos and drawings and has already restored it once.

And consult with Chicago’s Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson, (audio link). He’ll also make sure the Sullivan spirit survives.

Pray for funding.

Then please, rebuild K.A.M. to Adler and Sullivan’s original design. If they could do it so magnificently in 1890-91, why can’t we today?

01/10/2007

Architecture as the Experience of Time



A Cranbrook Competition.

“This competition is an invitation to design the experience of time through architecture. At a fundamental level, to design the transformation of an existing building means to confront the existence of architecture in time. Built over sixty years ago, the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum and Library undeniably belongs to a “different” time. How is this “other” time relevant to “our” time?”

You mean layering, as cities around the world have done for years?

We talk about preservation here, but this is an interesting new twist, the competition brief says it’s,

“the first to address the emerging field of preservation design…. The challenge is not to adapt the buildings to fit current trends in library and museum design. Rather more ambitiously, it is to discover how the preservation of these extraordinary buildings can provoke a profound rethinking of our current conventions about design. The aim is to envision a new type of library and museum that would be unimaginable without the existing structures.”

And so, we grow. As we age as a civilization, we are forced to layer. Which often brings interesting results.

thanks DA!

01/10/2007

Architecture as the Experience of Time



A Cranbrook Competition.

“This competition is an invitation to design the experience of time through architecture. At a fundamental level, to design the transformation of an existing building means to confront the existence of architecture in time. Built over sixty years ago, the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum and Library undeniably belongs to a “different” time. How is this “other” time relevant to “our” time?”

You mean layering, as cities around the world have done for years?

We talk about preservation here, but this is an interesting new twist, the competition brief says it’s,

“the first to address the emerging field of preservation design…. The challenge is not to adapt the buildings to fit current trends in library and museum design. Rather more ambitiously, it is to discover how the preservation of these extraordinary buildings can provoke a profound rethinking of our current conventions about design. The aim is to envision a new type of library and museum that would be unimaginable without the existing structures.”

And so, we grow. As we age as a civilization, we are forced to layer. Which often brings interesting results.

thanks DA!